'Selective glorification is a threat to society'

'Selective glorification is a threat to society'

The present trend in the society of selective discourse on certain historical or mythical figures and promoting them as ‘cultural icons’, is not in the interest of history, said M R Ravi, Additional Regional Commissioner, here, on Tuesday.

Delivering the valedictory address of the 22nd refresher course in History, with thrust area ‘History and Literature’, organised at UGC-Human Resource Development Centre, University of Mysore, Ravi said, selective misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the past events and historical personalities is leading to disturbances and disharmony in the society. “There is a flawed perception among the common people that history is about kings, kingdoms and dynasties. The teachers, who are the practitioners of History, should correct such views. History is about human experience, it’s about value system, it’s about cultural system. Thus, a true historian not only teaches History but practices history — its values and culture,” he said.

‘Victims to intolerance’
Lingaraja Gandhi, director of the UGC-Human Resource Development Centre, who presided over the valedictory session, said, both history and literature, as ancient disciplines have the common pursuit, quest for truth, for human happiness and peace and existence. “Both have been the weapons of humanism. Unfortunately, both historians and writers have become the victims of growing intolerance,” he said.

Referring to Romila Thapar’s recent book ‘Public Intellectual’, Gandhi said, as public intellectuals, writers and historians should not shy away from uttering the truth — however dangerous it is. “Highlighting the interconnectedness between history and literature, at a time when study of humanities, liberal arts, social sciences is receding to the backstage, there is an urgent need to re-vitalise and re-invent the importance of these disciplines in the globalised, consumerist world, where values are getting eroded,” he said.

Emphasising the greatness of literature over history, Gandhi observed, a historian must record, whereas a novelist must create. “Unlike history, literature suggests several  possibilities of existence as it deals with life, not as it is but how it should be. Thus, ‘fictional truth’ – truth as fiction – is higher than the ‘historical truth.’ While historical truth is verifiable, fictional truth is not as it does not concern with externality, but with the inner search,” said Gandhi.

Course material and certificates were distributed by Registrar of Evaluation, University of Mysore, R Rajanna to 38 teachers from different colleges and universities in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who took part in the three-week course. Professors Puttaiah and L Nanjudaswamy were present.
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